There will be skeptics of “The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip.” Any band as beloved and notoriously protective of their privacy has the Hip will have fans who will not support anything that hasn’t been blessed by their heroes. That’s understandable and perfectly fair.
Michael Barclay’s new book – at the time of this writing, it sits at #2 on the best seller chart in Canada, two weeks after it was published – is an exhaustive tome, filled with information gleaned from previously published interviews as well as new research collected from conversations with friends, producers, musicians and others close to the band.
It’s true that Rob Baker recently said on Twitter that he’d read a few paragraphs of the book and nearly spit coffee out his nose. That is, of course, his right as much as it is completely understandable.
Only the five members of the Hip know the full, complex, detailed and gospel truth of the band’s history. Mr. Baker has, on more than one occasion, hinted and suggested he himself might one day write about book on the band, or at least his role in it. If that day comes, there will be no shortage of people waiting in line to buy it and devour its contents, myself included.
But a book like this has long been inevitable. And as a devoted fan of this band, one I credit with bringing me back home to what many consider their adopted U.S. home town of Buffalo, I have to say: this book is worth a read.
Barclay’s done a series of launch parties in the past few weeks, the first at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Each one has featured Barclay reading some passages from the book, conducting an interview on stage in front of an audience and a musical performance.
Jeremy Hoyle, front man of Buffalo’s Strictly Hip, invited me to conduct this interview in Buffalo. I couldn’t say no.
The sound engineer at the Tralf Music Hall was kind enough to record our interview. Have a listen. (And my apologies up front: My voice was pretty terrible on account of this being the one week a year I happened to get sick.)
Read more here.